Hamilton, NJ – Despite more Americans on the road in 2010 compared to 2009, highway deaths declined 2.9 percent to 32,885 for the year, the lowest level in more than six decades since 1949, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  New Jersey’s 2010 traffic fatalities declined nearly 5 percent from 584 to 556.

The key factors contributing to the drop include a reduction in deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers and a decline in fatalities of occupants of passenger cars and light trucks (including SUV’s, minivans and pick-ups). “While the decline in traffic fatalities is encouraging news, one death is still one too many,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.   “We will continue to partner with safety organizations and law enforcement to promote safe driving practices and to advocate in the legislature for stronger traffic safety laws until we reach zero fatalities.”

However, there was a slight rise in the estimated number of people injured in crashes, although considered not statistically significant according to NHTSA.  In 2010, an estimated 2.24 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes, compared to 2.22 million in 2009, representing a 1.2 percent increase.